“I think it’s a very positive development for him to embrace a pathway to citizenship,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who is one of the eight. “I think it will be good for the overall cause of immigration reform and good for the Republican Party.” Graham has criticized Paul on other occasions for his stances on drones and U.S. foreign aid.

Paul’s speech came the day after the Republican National Committee endorsed comprehensive immigration revisions, arguing it would help the party remain competitive in future elections. Latinos played a significant role in helping President Barack Obama win, and the RNC report was intended to help party faithful be more inclusive.

Graham agreed that the 2012 elections are a significant factor in why the GOP is beginning to open up to immigration changes.

“I think the 2012 election was a bit of a wake-up call,” he said.

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., another immigration group member, called it “great news.”

Asked whether it may help the bill win support among House Republican members, Flake said, “It will make a difference, a big difference.”